First Wind gets financing for wind farm developments

First Wind LLC, which plans to build a 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai, has closed loan agreements with two foreign investors worth $191 million to advance its wind farm development projects.

The Pacific Business News reported that this financing for First Wind will be used for future development projects and general corporate purposes. First Wind currently has five operating wind projects totaling 274 megawatts in Maine, New York and in Maui.


Donate blood Monday at annual drive for free ice cream at Kamoi

How would you like a free double scoop of your favorite ice cream from Kamoi Snack-n-Go? Who wouldn’t. All you need to do is go to Molokai General Hospital on Monday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and donate to the Blood Bank of Hawaii’s annual blood drive on Molokai.

The goal is to collect 100 pints, half of the amount that the blood bank uses every day across Hawaii. According to Wendy Abe, the Blood Bank’s chief operating officer, keeping the blood supply at a safe level during the summer is quite challenging because many people go on vacation or are busy with other plans.

Because each donation is separated into three different components — red blood cells, platelets and plasma — a single donation can help save the lives of up to three people.

The donation process is safe and usually takes about an hour but the actual collection of blood takes only five to eight minutes.

A Well-trained phlebotomist, and friendly, professional clinical assistant will take you through the process in a timely manner, and you are on your way.

In Hawaii, only 2 percent of the eligible population donates blood. More donors are always needed. To be a blood donor a person must be in good health, be 18 years of age or older and weigh 110 pounds or more. Bring a valid photo ID with date of birth to the hospital Monday when you donate.

To make an appointment or get more information, visit or call the Blood Bank of Hawaii toll-free at 1-800-372-9966.

Donation helps cover transportation costs for Molokai athletes

A new school year starts on Monday for most Molokai students. Athletes at Molokai High School will be glad to know they are receiving assistance for travel expenses from Keith Amemiya, executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
He and his wife Bonny will be making a personal donation of $20,000 to help the Molokai and Lanai high schools’ athletic departments.

Since Molokai and Lanai have the highest transportation costs, Amemiya decided to make this donation. In an email, Keith Amemiya said, in reference to athletes from Molokai and Lanai, ”… being from smaller islands, they sometimes tend to get overlooked and I want (to) reassure them that they’re just as important as all of our other athletic programs across the state. Further, the economies on those islands are being hit especially hard, and thus it’s difficult to seek donations from the same sources time and time again.”

The e-mail did not describe how the money would be divided.

Hoolehua man arrested, bail set at $25,000

The Maui News reports that Woodrow “Blue” Poepoe of Hoolehua was arrested early Sunday following a fight at a residence and an auto chase. Bail was set at $25,000.

Molokai police say Poepoe, 56, rear-ended another vehicle at Moomomi and Hauakea avenues and then challenged the vehicle’s 24-year-old driver to a fight.

Acting Capt. Jayson Rego of the Molokai Patrol District said Poepoe had chased the man after a fight at a Hoolehua residence, where Poepoe hit the man over the head with a chair. He said the victim suffered minor injuries.

Poepoe, who was arrested when police responded to the 2:15 a.m. call, was charged with first-degree criminal property damage and second-degree assault.

Hawai, Molokai visitor numbers and dollars down from last year

The Hawaii Tourism Authority released figures for the first half of 2009 showing total expenses by visitors traveling by air to Hawaii is down 16.1 percent. Just for the month of June this is a loss of $161.6 million of revenue for the state.

On Molokai, June total arrivals were 3,560, down 41 percent over last year. Year to date total arrivals on Molokai are 25,007, down 36.4 percent. In terms of money spent, visitors spent $1.7 million less this June than last year on Molokai, a drop of 51 percent. This represents the sharpest decline in visitors of any Hawaiian island and the biggest decline in money spent by visitors as well.

Pacific Wings complaints lead to call for new Kalaupapa carrier

By David Lichtenstein

With recent actions by Pacific Wings the call is getting louder for the state to find a different carrier to serve the Kalaupapa settlement.

After a conflict with airport security in Kahului over the service of a citation for a fuel spill, Pacific Wings briefly stopped all its services statewide two weeks ago. When service returned, airfare to Kalaupapa more than doubled to $492 round trip from topside Molokai. Pacific Wings offers the only scheduled flights to the remote peninsula. Pacific Wings CEO Greg Kahlstorf said that the fares more closely reflect the true cost of doing business.

Just days after Pacific Wings announced its airfare hikes, the company now says it will no longer offer wheelchair access. Pacific Wings says they cannot afford to spend the money on a wheelchair lift, even though the State Department of Transportation says they offered to pay the $2,500 for maintenance of the lift.

Maui County council chair Danny Mateo said that Pacific Wings was in breach of contract when they stopped service. He also said this was not the first time they have had problems with Pacific Wings.

State Senator J. Kalani English has also fielded numerous complaints about Pacific Wings. English said the state will look at finding a different carrier for Kalaupapa but said this might be difficult given the lack of subsidies the airlines receives for the route.

Now the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper has released an editorial that says the state, “must find another way to keep one of the state’s most treasured places open and accessible.”

Honolulu Advertiser editorial:

Today’s briefs: Highway work, high surf on south shore

The state Department of Transportation advises Molokai motorists of alternating single lane closures on Kamehameha V Highway in both directions between Mile Post 7.9 and 11.3 today through Friday, from 7:30 a.m., to 3.30 p.m., daily, for storm drain modifications and pavement resurfacing.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu has continued the high surf advisory for south facing shores of Molokai and other islands effective until to 6 p.m. today.